Image by: Aberro Creative
By: Ken Lucas
The thought of constantly waking up in the morning, force feeding yourself, tossing on compression pants and spending an entire hour of exercising may seem daunting—especially with winter looming on the horizon. Many see it as inconvenient, and I can understand why that’s the case–who wants to sacrifice a part of their day to do something so physically demanding when you already have work and personal relationships to deal with?
All the chaos at the gym may seem pointless, as results take sometimes forever to surface, but you’ll realize with consistency and dedication that that strenuous, inconvenient process may evolve into a fun hobby after a while, as it did for me. Nothing worth having comes easily, and this especially applies to both losing weight and gaining muscle.
Why don’t you regularly see completely jacked guys walking down the street? It’s because getting to that point requires a lot of time, energy and, above all, motivation. But the problem lies in determining the cause to build that motivation. Do you want a girl you’re fawning over to notice you? Are you borderline obese and crave to live a healthier life? Or are you just sick of being the smallest guy in your circle and want to fortify your existence? Whatever the case is, you need to determine how exercise is going to benefit you in the long run, and after that comes the motivation.
And in case you’re having trouble with this, below are five steps to get the wheels of inspiration turning.
#1) Set Goals for Yourself
Got a wedding coming up in a few months and want to look like a stallion in your extravagant tux? Grab a pen and a plain old notebook and come up with a few achievable milestones you would like to reach in the near future. If you want to lose 25 pounds of stomach fat, take it one step at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself by worrying how long the process will take, as that will only stress you out and have a reverse effect on your results.
Instead, save yourself the trouble and achieve your goals on a step by step bases. It will be a lot more satisfying witnessing the fat diminish little by little. Perhaps reward yourself after successfully losing two pounds in a week–or 8 pounds in a month or something along those lines. The journey is the reward, people. So impress yourself as you strive toward perfection.
#2) Track Your Progress
There’s nothing more motivating then actually witnessing solid results first hand. While this is certainly the ultimate motivator, it may be tricky at first when determining if you’re actually making progress or not, because when you look at yourself in the mirror every single day, even the most subtle changes will be hard to decipher.
This is the part where you weigh yourself and go ahead and pose for your before and after pictures.
#3) Observe the Competition
We may be afraid to admit it, but we are a very competitive species in every single aspect of life from jobs, dating, school, and yes, even to working out. At work, you may either be trying to win that employee of the month award to achieve that promotion; at school you’re probably competing with another person to get into that upscale University; and at the gym, perhaps there’s someone around your size who lifts heavier than you.
I know it pisses you off, but go ahead and use it as fuel to become stronger. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. Of course you wouldn’t go up to a stranger and say hey, I challenge you to a lifting competition! But if you use the progress of others as fuel to inspire you in your mission, you may find yourself ‘going hard‘ in the gym so to speak.
#4) Set a Routine
We are animals vulnerable to the concept of classical conditioning. After doing something so many times over and over again we eventually get used to it. I assume this is mother nature’s defense mechanism to prevent us from despising every moment of our repetitive lives.
And thanks to mother nature, if you incorporate exercise into your routine on a set hour and day for a certain amount of days out the week, it will eventually become programmed in your brain as task that has to be performed. This method worked for me, and every time I found myself missing a day because of whatever random occurrence, I found myself feeling a stark sense of dread knowing that my schedule was being disrupted.
Don’t panic if you end up like that, that just means you have successfully incorporated exercise as a part of your daily routine. Congratulations!
#5) Avoid Injuries
Yea I know what you’re thinking: Nobody ever purposely gets injured, right? Well you’re wrong. People do purposely get injured by not taking the proper safety precautions necessary to prevent injury. I remember my first month in the gym I’d jump directly into a bench press ice cold (without warm ups), with improper form and too-heavy weights. Needless to say, by the time the month was over I ended up sustaining a wrist injury that killed my gym equilibrium.
I couldn’t do certain exercises and others would be extremely painful. Learn from my mistake, folks, and next time you resign yourself to the gym be sure you warm up, execute the proper form and moderate the weights–I can’t stress enough how important this is.
It might seem tempting to impress the girl doing squats near you by demonstrating your 225 pound bench press, but becoming a resident of ‘snap city’ isn’t worth the trouble. There’s nothing more devastating to a workout routine than living in that horrible place.
Yea, I know from experience that it’s tough starting the strenuous process of getting jacked. But to those of you that suffered and crossed the finish line, how did you over come your inhibitions? Share below!